Russia Identifies 'Colored Revolutions' As Aggressive Warfare At Moscow Security Conference
June 6, 2014 • 10:55AM

On May 23, 2014, the annual Moscow Security Conference was held in which speakers from the top levels of the Russian military command declared that they view so-called colored revolutions to be a new type of aggressive war, identifying the foreign-promotion of such revolutions to be a "new technique of aggression" deployed with the geopolitical intent to deliberately destabilize countries which occupy "an important strategic position and conduct an independent foreign policy" in order to cause "a major shift in the balance of power in a particular region," targetting not only Russia, but also China as well as the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia.

Anthony Cordesman of CSIS (Center for Strategic & International Studies), who attended the May 23 Moscow Security Conference, posted 52 pages of his raw notes, with power-point slides included, to the CSIS site under the title, "Russia and the Color Revolution: A Russian Military View of a World Destabilized by the U.S. and the West (Key Briefs)."

He wrote:

"Russian military officers now tie the term “Color Revolution” to the crisis in Ukraine and to what they saw as a new US and European approach to warfare that focuses on creating destabilizing revolutions in other states as a means of serving their security interests at low cost and with minimal casualties. It was seen as posing a potential threat to Russian in the near abroad, to China and Asia states not aligned with the US, and as a means of destabilizing states in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia...

"Key Russian officers and officials presented a view of the U.S. and the West as deliberately destabilizing nations in North Africa, the Middle East, and the rest of the world for their own ends. They describe such actions as having failed, and been a key source of terrorism. They see the West as rejecting partnership with the West as a threatening Russia along all of its borders with Europe.

"Senior Russian officials are also using the term 'Color Revolution' in ways that are far more critical than in the past. For example, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has accused the United States and the European Union of an attempt to stage yet another color revolution in Ukraine, and said during the Conference that, 'Attempts to impose homemade recipes for internal changes on other nations, without taking into account their own traditions and national characteristics, to engage in the export of democracy, have a destructive impact on international relations and result in an increase of the number of hot spots on the world map.'

"The end result is a radically different reading of modern history, of US and European strategy, their use of force, and US and European goals and actions from any issued in the West and in prior Russian literature...

"What is critical is that the U.S. and Europe listen to what Russian military leaders and strategists are saying. These are not Russian views the U.S. and Europe can afford to ignore." (emphasis in original)

Speakers from the Russian and Belorussian militaries who addressed this theme in detail included Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov, Belarusian Defense Minister Yury Zhadobin and others. According to another account, that of Dmitry Gorenburg, Zhadobin "mentioned Gene Sharp as the originator of the strategy used in these revolutions," as had Rachel Douglas in EIR of February 3, 2012.

Zhadobin also pointed to the Baltic States as a "gray zone" in Europe, since there are no CFE conventional force limits or reporting requirements for military forces there; they are an area where large forces can be assembled in secret.

The speaker who delved into the most detail on the colored revolution strategy appears to have been Vladimir Zarudnitsky, head of Operations for the Russian General Staff. This is Gorenburg's summary of Zarudnitsky's talk:

"Like the plenary speakers, Zarudnitsky focused on the military aspects of colored revolutions. He argued that while the West considers colored revolutions to be a peaceful way of overthrowing undemocratic regimes, events in the Middle East and North Africa have shown that military force is an integral part of all aspects of colored revolutions. This includes external pressure on the regime in question to prevent the use of force to restore order, the provision of military and economic assistance to rebel forces, and if these measures are not sufficient, the conduct of a military operation to defeat government forces and allow the rebels to take power. Colored revolutions are thus a new technique of aggression pioneered by the United States and geared toward destroying a state from within by dividing its population. The advantage of this technique is that it requires a relatively low expenditure of resources to achieve its goals.

"Zarudnitsky argues that since this type of warfare is based on the network principle, it has no front line. It is used primarily in urban areas, frequently using civilians as shields. Commonly accepted rules of warfare are ignored, since official state-run armed forces are not used. Instead, criminal and terrorist forces and private military companies are allowed to act with impunity. Counter-guerrilla warfare tactics are required to defeat this type of warfare.

"The key question for military planners is which state will be targeted next. Weak states with poor economies are generally the most vulnerable to these tactics, but the main factor in determining targets is the geopolitical interest of the provoking state. For this reason, such revolutions are organized primarily in countries with significant natural resources or ones that have an important strategic position and conduct an independent foreign policy. The destabilization of such countries allows for a major shift in the balance of power in a particular region (in the case of the Arab Spring—the Middle East and North Africa)."